When Nanci Griffith called Frances Black “the sweetest voice of Ireland,” she was paying tribute to someone who has been one of Ireland’s best-loved and most enduring artists since the late 80s, with a string of best-selling albums, awards and other accolades behind her.
Frances was born in Dublin, and her parents Patty and Kevin were both very musical. Although she was a shy child, she began singing with her older siblings, Shay, Michael, Mary, and Martin, known as The Black Family , when she was 17.
Having gained confidence in her singing abilities, she enhanced her performing skills through joining the band Arcady in 1988. She featured on their album, After the Ball, in 1991. Frances subsequently embarked on a successful collaboration with acclaimed singer-songwriter, Kieran Goss, with whom she released the album, Frances Black and Kieran Goss .
In 1992, Frances really took the music scene by storm, when the lovely “Wall of Tears,” which she had recorded with Kieran, and the rousing “After the Ball,” which she had recorded with Arcady, were placed on the album, A Woman’s Heart .This album also featured Eleanor McEvoy, Dolores Keane. Mary Black, Sharon Shannon and Maura O’Connell, and it went on to become the biggest-selling album ever in Ireland. Huge tours subsequently followed, and audiences around the country were enchanted by Frances’ particular blend of charm and wit, coupled of course, with that gorgeous voice.
This reaction led to Frances being signed to DARA Records, and the release of her first solo album, Talk to Me, which was the number 1 best-selling album in Ireland for 10 weeks. She had a massive hit single with “All The Lies That You Told Me,” penned by the late, great Christie Hennessy. Frances released six more best-selling solo albums, The Sky Road, The Smile On Your Face, Don’t Get Me Wrong, How High the Moon , The Best Of Frances Black , and This Love Will Carry , all of which contain beautiful melodies and stirring lyrics delivered with passion and feeling. She sings with a conviction and depth of emotion that reflects the inner strength and spirit that has helped her come through the challenges of her own life.
Intelligent and articulate, with a keenly developed social conscience, Frances is very politically aware and has strong opinions on many issues. She is renowned for her rendition of “Legal Illegal,” a song by Ewan McColl that powerfully rails against injustice.
Alongside the music, Frances’ other main passion in life is The Rise Foundation , a charitable organisation that she founded herself, which is dedicated to assisting families in understanding the nature of the disease of addiction, and the profound effects it has on relationships. This subject is so close to Frances’ heart that she went back to college to study to be an addiction counsellor, and now works with people who are trying to step into recovery from this disease, and their families.
The extent of Frances’ popularity and talent has been reflected in the awards and accolades that she has received for her albums and live performances. She has twice been the recipient of one of the highest honours in Irish music, the prestigious Irish Recorded Music Association’s Best Irish Female Award, and was also delighted to receive a National Entertainment ”Personality of the Year” award, as it has always been vitally important to her to connect with her audiences during a performance.
In addition, the excellence of her live performances saw her receiving the “Best Solo Artist” and “Overall Winner” accolades at the Celtic Fusion Festival Awards, in conjunction with Irish Music Magazine , from over 40 nominated acts.
Frances’ career in music has been so successful that it posed a dilemma when it came to choosing the 40 tracks for The Essential Frances Black compilation, as there were so many hit singles and songs that audiences loved, to choose from. We hope that this wonderful collection will give hours of enjoyment from the voice of the lady who has captured the hearts of so many people all around the world over the past 20 years.
When Frances was elected to the 25th Seanad in 2016 as the first female Independent from the Seanad's panel system in the history of the state, she was a strong advocate for social justice and equality. Senator Black is passionate about being a voice for the vulnerable and continues to work with organisations in the voluntary and charitable sectors alongside her work in Seanad Éireann. In 2020, Senator Frances Black was re-elected as an Independent Member of Seanad Éireann. Frances is also founder of the RISE Foundation, a charitable organisation working with people with a loved one in addiction.